Mar 17, 2018; Boise, ID, USA; Former player Greg Oden looks on during the first half between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Taco Bell Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Oden is back in college basketball with a formal staff role.
Oden is joining Xavier’s staff under his former head coach Thad Matta, as first reported by David Woods of the Indianapolis Star. Another former Ohio State player, Jon Diebler, is also joining the staff. Their roles are yet to be publicly revealed.
Oden, now 34, has been around coaching circles for some time now. Last year, he had a full time role as a graduate assistant at Ohio State under coach Chris Holtmann. Before that, he’d even helped one NBA team do some pre-draft evaluations.
Unfortunately, Oden will always be best remembered as a former No. 1 overall pick ahead of Kevin Durant who turned into a notorious bust due in large part to injuries. Still, his experiences may prove valuable to young players who can learn from him.
Former Ohio State standout Greg Oden is looking to launch a coaching career, and he’ll be doing it at his alma mater.
After spending time with the Buckeyes as a student manager two seasons ago, Oden will be joining Ohio State as a graduate assistant under coach Chris Holtmann with an eye on a full-time coaching role in the future.
“I’m thankful, honestly, for coach Holt and his staff who have welcomed me in and given me this opportunity because that’s literally what I want to do is get into coaching,” Oden told Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch. “One of the toughest things to do is get your foot in the door, so for them to give me this opportunity while I’m able to actually get a Master’s degree in sports coaching from The Ohio State University, which I would love, is something that’s just amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m just so thankful and ready to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Oden has already gathered some modest coaching experience in addition to his previous stint at Ohio State. It’s clearly a long-term goal of his and something he’s passionate about.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden’s career was derailed by knee injuries, and he played just 105 career NBA games.
Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden has turned his attentions to coaching.
Oden, whose career was wrecked by knee injuries, is focused on a coaching career and has gotten started by helping the Boston Celtics with pre-draft evaluations.
“I’m done playing. I helped out at Ohio State for the past three, four years. So I just kinda hit the bug on me,” Oden told John Karalis of MassLive. “I enjoy working with the players. I enjoy that side of it.
“Just to help out with the pre-draft stuff and see what happens from it. I’ll take that opportunity from it. It’s the freakin’ Celtics.”
Oden’s role allows him to work out with draftees and get a feel for coaching, while also allowing the Celtics to evaluate his potential as a coach.
Oden last made an attempt to play in 2018 with an unsuccessful attempt at joining the Big 3 league followed by a reserve role in The Basketball Tournament 2018. Now 31, he appears to have given up on that with an eye on coaching.
Greg Oden is making a comeback — sort of.
The former No. 1 overall pick, whose career was derailed by injury, has joined the BIG3 draft combine in the hopes of making it in the three-on-three league frequented by many former pros.
Oden is the latest big-name addition to the BIG3 league, which has also been populated by the likes of Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson, Metta World Peace, and Charles Oakley.
The former Trail Blazer had once said he was done playing, but that was before the three-on-three league had been conceptualized. It would be great if he could play again, even at this level.
Most people would agree that former No. 1 pick Greg Oden qualifies as a major NBA draft bust. The man selected immediately after him is not one of them.
Kevin Durant, who famously went No. 2 in the same 2007 draft, very firmly believes that Oden wasn’t a bust, as his failures were due to circumstances largely beyond his control.
“Nonsense. That’s nonsense,” Durant told ESPN’s Chris Hayes Sunday night. “In order for you to be a bust, you have to actually play and show people that you progressed as a player. He didn’t get a chance to.”
Durant remembers when Oden was healthy enough to play, and he strongly believes that the skills he had were plenty good enough to disqualify him from the bust conversation.
“He didn’t want to get hurt. That was the last thing he wanted to do was to get hurt,” Durant added. “That wasn’t even in the cards, and he got injured and that was unfortunate. But when he did play, he was a force. Protecting the paint. They were so good with him and LaMarcus [Aldridge] down low, with Brandon Roy [and] Andre Miller at the time. They had a nice team. So he was a big part of that.
“He’s not a bust. He just didn’t play a long time because of injuries, and that’s just what it is.”
Unfortunately, most people do not make the distinction between a failed career that the player was responsible and one that his body just couldn’t handle. Oden is even one of them. It may not have been all his doing, but there’s no denying that Oden will be appearing near the top of lists of famous draft busts for years to come.
Greg Oden is well aware that his NBA legacy — if you can even call it that — is not a good one. He is more than willing to accept that.
Oden, who is currently taking classes at Ohio State while working as a student assistant coach for the basketball team, told ESPN’s Outside the Lines this week that he knows people will argue there is no bigger draft bust in NBA history than him.
“I’ll be remembered as the biggest bust in NBA history,” Oden admitted, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. “But I can’t do nothing about that.”
Oden was taken by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. It doesn’t help that Kevin Durant was the player who was selected right behind him, and Oden acknowledged a couple of years ago that his bust status will only become worse as Durant continues to succeed.
It’s hard to remember a player with worse injury luck than Oden. Even when he did manage to get on the court, the 28-year-old admits he struggled with addiction and did his career no favors.
While there have been other notorious draft busts in professional sports who simply could not perform at the professional level (JaMarcus Russell, anyone?), Oden can at least rest knowing his failures were largely not in his control. That probably isn’t much consolation.
In case you were somehow still holding out hope for former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden to continue his playing career, it’s time to give up the dream.
In a recent interview with Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the Indianapolis Star, Oden shut the door on the possibility of any sort of comeback bid as a player.
“I wish. It’s over,” Oden said when asked if he would play basketball again. “I wouldn’t say I regret anything. I would say I just wish I did things better.”
Oden, who has since enrolled back at Ohio State as a 28-year-old sophomore, remains one of the Association’s most tragic “What if?” stories. Between all the microfracture surgeries and the off-court troubles, the seven-footer wound up nothing more than a colossal bust, and he knows it.
The last we heard of him, Oden was trying his luck in China, but now he appears to be throwing in the towel for good on Greg Oden, the professional basketball player. Hopefully, Oden experiences nothing but the best in his next chapter in life.
Eight years ago, Ohio State center Greg Oden was a 19-year-old kid with a bright future, bright enough to be selected first overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 NBA Draft. Now after numerous debilitating injuries and legal problems, Oden’s NBA days look to be all but over.
After no NBA teams took the bait on his attempted comeback bid this offseason, Oden is heading overseas to play in the Chinese Basketball Association next year. The 27-year-old has officially signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Jiangsu Dragons. Real GM reported the details of the rumored agreement last week, and the deal was confirmed Monday by the Dragons on their website.
In the eight years since being selected by Portland over future MVP and scoring champion Kevin Durant, Oden’s professional career has been destroyed by various knee injuries and major surgeries. He has only played in a total of three NBA seasons, appearing in just 105 of a possible 656 regular season games since being drafted.
Oden holds meager NBA career averages of 8.0 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, and 1.2 blocks per game. His disastrous tenure with the Blazers, which featured three separate microfracture surgeries, finally ended in 2012 with his release by the team. Oden last played in the league with the Miami Heat in the 2013-14. There he was hoped to serve as a Roy Hibbert antidote of sorts, but instead went kaput with 2.9 points per game and 2.3 rebounds per game in just 23 apperances.
The seven-footer has also been plagued by a litany of off-the-court troubles in recent years. Oden had been working hard training at Ohio State in the hopes of securing at least a training camp invite for next season, but no NBA team was willing to bite the bullet on a guy once heralded as “The Next Shaq.” Now it looks like Oden’s professional career is on its way overseas to die.
Well, at least he still has as many NBA Finals appearances as Durant.
Greg Oden is attempting an NBA comeback and working out for teams in hopes of securing a roster spot.
According to Real GM, Oden worked out for the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday and will work out in an upcoming Dallas Mavericks free agent minicamp. The Mavericks had strong interest in signing Odom when he returned to the league in 2013, but the former No. 1 overall pick chose to sign with the Miami Heat instead.
Oden played in 23 games for the Heat in the 2013-2014 season, averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game. He pleaded guilty to battery charges related to punching his ex-girlfriend last year. He also battled alcohol problems during his season with the Heat and was sentenced to AA meetings as part of his guilty plea.
The good news is that Oden is attempting to get his life back on track. He spent much of the year training at Ohio State where he slimmed down and was looking good according to Buckeyes coach Thad Matta.
“Quite honestly, I haven’t seen Greg look this good since when he played for us back in the day at Ohio State,” Matta said in March. “His attitude is off the charts.”
Real GM also reported that the Grizzlies may have interest in Oden, who has only played in 105 games since being drafted in 2007.
Details about a sad truth concerning Greg Oden are emerging this week: the often-injured center has an alcohol problem that was an issue last season.
In a 2012 article on Grantland, Oden told former Ohio State teammate Mark Titus that he became an alcoholic during his second season in Portland.
“If you know anything about guys in the Air Force,” Oden explained, “it’s that they drink a ton. My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I’d drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I’d drink to forget. That second year in Portland I pretty much became an alcoholic.”
It sounds like not much has changed in that regard.
Oden, who spent most of last season on the bench for the Miami Heat while recovering from his knee injuries, was arrested last month for allegedly punching his girlfriend multiple times. He has been charged with a felony and is due in court this week. He was drinking that night and his girlfriend told police Oden “sometimes gets upset when he drinks.”
In a column this week about Oden, ESPN’s Michael Wallace discussed some of the alcohol issues the center had last seaosn.
Privately, his battle with personal demons still raged, according to multiple sources. Alcohol abuse remained a concern last season as he sat out many games because of soreness in his knees and back.
He didn’t hang out with many teammates when he did travel, choosing instead to venture out alone or with friends outside of the team.
Additionally, Miami Heat reporter Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report said after traveling with the team last season, he was not surprised to learn that alcohol was involved in the domestic incident.
It’s really a shame with Oden. On the outside, he seems to handle the reality about being a huge bust pretty well. He’s honest about it and shares self-deprecating humor. But those are probably just attempts to mask the pain. It’s hard for anyone to live that kind of life — always injured and considered a disappointment.